Acceptance of ex-PSB trio into PDP only worsens democratic imbalance in Sarawak DUN

Chong Chieng Jen (file photo)

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, April 10: The shift of political stance by three assemblymen of former Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) from opposition to supporting the ruling coalition has led Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) commanding majority of 79 to 3 in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN), which worsened the already imbalanced democratic system.

Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen emphasised this in dismissing the claim of PSB president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh that the acceptance of PSB’s trio into Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) served to maintain Sarawak’s stability, labelling it as a lame excuse.

He said that the core issue in Sarawak’s political realm lies not in stability but rather in the absence of robust checks and balances and transparency in governance.

“Contrary to federal politics where the federal government has a slim majority in Parliament and thus stability of government is a concern, in Sarawak, the GPS already has a 76 to 6 super majority, thus stability of the State government is a non-issue.

“What a disservice that Soon Koh and PSB did to Sarawak is to worsen an already very lop-sided democratic system in the State. With the addition of the trio from PSB, GPS now has a 79 – 3 majority,” said Chong in a statement today.

Chong, who is also Stampin MP, further pointed out that as PSB has no parliamentary representatives, it has no national presence.

“Therefore, for Soon Koh to claim that he and PSB cross party to PDP to help maintain political stability at federal level is most illogical,” he said.

It may be a non-issue for Wong to switch party, but Chong who is also Padungan assemblyman, held that it would be preposterous for Wong to suggest DAP Sarawak doing the same.

On April 6, PSB officially announced its dissolution, which had been approved by Registrar of Societies, before claiming that more than 80,000 of its members have been accepted en bloc into PDP.

This included three of its assemblymen, namely Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Baru Bian (Ba’kelalan) and Johnichal Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili), with Wong appointed as PDP’s senior vice president, and Baru and Rayong as vice presidents.

PSB, formerly known as United People’s Party (UPP) was a splinter party of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). Before the 2021 Sarawak Election, PSB changed its political stance to become an opposition party and contested against Sarawak’s ruling coalition GPS.

However, on July 13, 2023, PSB announced its support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and finally dissolved to join PDP en bloc early this April.— DayakDaily